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The United Kingdom, the United States, Australia, and Canada criticized China for introducing a new national security law against Hong Kong, which they say threatens freedom and violates the 1984 Sino-British Joint Declaration on the former colony, Reuters reported.

“Hong Kong has flourished as a bastion of freedom,” the countries said, adding their “deep concern regarding Beijing’s decision to impose a national security law in Hong Kong.” 

According to them, the new legislation would 'curtail the Hong Kong people’s liberties, and in doing so, dramatically erode Hong Kong’s autonomy and the system that made it so prosperous.'

“China’s decision to impose the new national security law on Hong Kong lies in direct conflict with its international obligations under the principles of the legally-binding, UN-registered Sino-British Joint Declaration,” they said. 

“We are also extremely concerned that this action will exacerbate the existing deep divisions in Hong Kong society,” they said in the joint statement.

China said that the law is aimed at combating separatism, subversive activities, terrorism, and foreign interference in the city.

“We call on the Government of China to work with the Hong Kong SAR Government and the people of Hong Kong to find a mutually acceptable accommodation that will honour China’s international obligations under the UN-filed Sino-British Joint Declaration,” the UK-US-Canadian-Austrian statement said.

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